Ken Jacobs: Close Listening Reading and Conversation, 2009

Posted 9/2/2009 (link)

Our week continues with another cinema-related addition to the PennSound archives: a trio of new Close Listening programs featuring experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs recorded with Charles Bernstein earlier this summer at New York City's Clocktower Studio.

Jacobs starts the conversation by imploring listeners to read Matt Taibbi's "The Great American Bubble Machine," a recent Rolling Stone exposé of the business practices of Goldman Sachs, whom Jacobs likens to the Mafia. Bernstein uses this political discussion to segue into the origins of Jacobs' filmmaking in the 1950s, asking whether he thought his films were capable of effecting social change, or futile to do so — Jacobs confesses that he felt the latter, however "one is alive, and the toes have hope, the body has hope, and this kind of energy would move into the work and mess it up with hope." They discuss the political dimensions of Jacobs' films throughout his career, starting with his classic Star Spangled to Death, and the tenuous relationship between reality and the cinema, as well as the filmmaker's responsibility to make light of the unreality of film form. This leads to a consideration of one particular facet of Jacobs' aesthetic — manipulation and subversion of the standard frame rate of 24 frames per second to break the veil of cinematographic illusion and create startling imagery, as in 1969's Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, which deconstructs a 1905 short subject of the same name.

The program's second half start with Bernstein asking Jacobs to discuss the role of integrated text within his filmmaking, which was born of his shift from film stock to video in the earlier part of this decade. Knowing that the film would be presented in DVD format, where viewers have the ability to break up the usual flow of images through pause and replay, allowed him the freedom to make use of wordy flash frames within works like Star Spangled to Death. Embedding these texts backs up the filmic imagery with supporting facts, and while they don't subliminally conveying everything Jacobs wishes to say in one instant, they do spur viewers to go back, to re-watch individual scenes and the film as a whole, engaging in a recursive process he feels is ideal.

Bernstein next asks about another recent film, 2007's Child Labor (based on a nineteenth century stereograph image of a thread factory), which he frames in relation to the concept of film as "the redemption of physical reality." Jacobs concedes his friend's assertion, noting that "just letting the mind humanely examine things is already something of a redemption," however he feels less hopeful about the potential of art to wholly counteract or erase the enormity of capitalism: it can make the pain of this child worker a visceral and empathetic experience for viewers, however, "you can't do anything for those kids anymore." "This problem goes on in the world," he continues, under the sway of capitalism, "most peoples' lives are . . . I don't know what to call it except slavery [...] a tragic misuse of a life [...] a waste of fucking time." He ends the discussion by effectively summing up the relation between filmmaking and his own life: "I have to explore these spaces and relish the phenomena that's there. I'm in this peculiar situation of being offended by things and at the same time, my appetites, which include an appetite for space and an appetite for rhythm . . . you can't help but play with these things and enjoy them."

Next comes a pair of half-hour readings of texts both old and new. The first showcases Jacobs' short story, "The Day the Moon Gave Up the Ghost," composed in the fall of 1961 after a separation from his eventual-wife, Flo (she had to return to her classes at RISD, while he stayed on in Provincetown). In the second, he reads "Painted Air: The Joys and Sorrows of Evanescent Cinema," an autobiographical piece first published in Millenium Film Journal in 2003, and we're able to provide a link to the full text of the essay.

While we're speaking of film and filmmakers, it's worth noting that Ken Jacobs is also the subject of Henry Hills' short film, Nervous Ken — the first installment of his magnum opus, Emma's Dilemma, which you can also see on PennSound, along with a number of earlier films, including A New Life, Gotham, Money, Radio Adios and Kino Da!. Hills is also the subject of a 2008 Close Listening conversation with Bernstein, and you can hear and see all of the aforementioned materials on Hills' PennSound author page. To listen to Ken Jacobs' Close Listening reading and conversation, just click on the title above.

Abigail Child: Selected Films 1986-2006

Posted 9/4/2009 (link)

Today, we bring our week of film-related PennSound Daily entries to a close with a series of recently-added works by poet and filmmaker Abigail Child. Our new page for Child's Selected Films 1986-2006 — edited, like the Stan Brakhage page we launched earlier this week, by PennSound Contributing Editor, Danny Snelson — showcases four short films from throughout her past two decades of work.

The most recent film present here is 2006's Mirror World, a collaboration with Gary Sullivan, which reworks material from Mehboob Khan's Bollywood film, AAN into a fascinating twelve-minute short that layers soundtrack, dialogue and subtitles, manipulates framing and fractures narrative to critique both gender and social roles within Indian cinema while simultaneously celebrating its bright spectacle.

Next, we have three selections from Child's ongoing series, Is This What You Were Born For?: Perils (1986), Mayhem (1987) and Mercy (1989). Each organized around a central abstract notion, and embracing a jarring montage aesthetic (that's wonderfully complemented by scores featuring Christian Marclay, Charles Noyes and Zeena Parkins, among others), these films navigate a broad array of source materials to create mesmerizing meditations on our relationship to film and the ways in which the everyday and the extraordinary are reflected through the medium.

In addition to these videos, you'll want to check out the extensive archive of recordings on Child's main PennSound author page. A perennial favorite of the Segue Series, you'll find no less than six readings taking place between 1985 and 2008, split equally between the Ear Inn and the Bowery Poetry Club. There's also a 2000 appearance on PhillyTalks (which includes four poems) and a wonderful Close Listening reading and conversation with Charles Bernstein in 2007 (the former show, featuring writing from Solids, A Motive for Mayhem and Post Industrials, among others, is also segmented into six individual files). An audio-visual introduction to Child's work is only a click away.

Bruce Pearson: Close Listening Conversation, 2009

Posted 9/8/2009 (link)

Our recent focus on visual artists with new additions to the PennSound archives continues today with this recent Close Listening program featuring painter Bruce Pearson in conversation with Charles Bernstein, recorded August 4, 2009 at New York City's Clocktower Studio.

The show begins with Bernstein asking the artist to discuss the techniques used in his work — which features multi-dimensional styrofoam forms overlaid with paint — as well as the development of that aesthetic lexicon, particularly the role of topographical maps and the tensions between flat-surface painting and sculpture. Pearson explains, "I've always been kinda interested in deciphering how a body's described, how information is described, so a map is one way to get there." He goes on to describe the role of language in his creative process: "I usually find a series of words that will trigger some ideas, or something that interests me, and from there I try to figure out a way to maybe decipher or map them in a pictorial space, or to intersect them with pictorial space." Bernstein mentions one recent work, "Funny That You Should Think That Walking Backwards is a Sign of Intelligence" (inspired by a poem by Mónica de la Torre, another recent Close Listening guest) and Pearson takes listeners through the painting's transformation and what traces of the original text are present in the end result. This leads to a more general discussion of the various ways text, whether source quotations or the letterforms themselves, are manipulated in his work.

The conversation next turns to Pearson's color choices, which are every bit as conceptually constrained as his textual choices, and the ways in which the artist conceives of new and ongoing series of works which are linked by similar sentiments. Bernstein asks about the influence of 1960s psychedelic art, which leads into an exploration of Pearson's upbringing — he was born in Aruba and lived in the San Francisco area during his formative years, where the various rock posters he encountered inspired both his color palate and his typographic morphology: "I was just thinking that this culture was kinda hallucinatory, it just seemed very, very loopy to me, and so I was kinda having fun with this language, creating these kinda optical, hallucinatory word structures, to get the language presented that way, and then very quickly, I realized that I needed to keep moving out, so I started finding other ways to present the words, and then to combine them with images, and then have them intersect and kinda create puzzles out of them, along with mappings."

Towards the show's end, Pearson discusses the ways in which his recent work has trended towards using line drawing to make evident the multiple structures and processes present in finished paintings. Playing off the observation by a friend of Pearson's that, "you can read the paintings, or you can see the paintings, but you can't do the two often at the same time," they comment upon the dichotomy between verbal and visual and the ways this tension filters into his work, along with the interplay between figuration and abstraction. While Pearson disdains the way in which the latter distinction is often upheld in a strict, either/or binary, he is interested in exploring the ways in which viewers' minds navigate these two systems, and particularly in the overlaps, the space between: "I like all of those points of slippages, wherever there's a binary." Bernstein ends the show by asking Pearson to describe, "the kind of perceptual experience that you want from your painting," and poses the classic question of when he knows a given work-in-progress is done, and the artist's thoughtful answers bring the conversation to a fitting conclusion.

This program is but one of the latest series of Bernstein's Close Listening readings and conversations, which started in 2003 as the successor to his LINEbreak series. You'll find dozens of programs on PennSound's Close Listening homepage featuring painters, filmmakers, scholars and theorists, along with some of the most influential voices in contemporary poetics.

A Tribute to David Bromige, KRCB-FM, 2009

Posted 9/10/2009 (link)

Today, we're very happy to announce a new addition to our author page for the late David Bromige: produced by Katherine Hastings, "A Tribute to David Bromige," first aired on KRCB-FM (a public radio station serving the Northern San Francisco Bay Area) on August 26th of this year. Here's a brief description of the hour-long program:

The author of dozens of books and the recipient of many literary honors, David Bromige was also a former Poet Laureate of Sonoma County, a professor at Sonoma State University, and a mentor to many. His experimental style and sharp wit translated to a large collection of work so varied that the poems could easily be mistaken as the work of many. Born in London in 1933, Bromige died in Sebastopol in June of this year. Participating in tonight's program will be his wife, Cecelia Belle, their daughter, Margaret, and others. Recordings of Bromige reading his work will also be featured.

For more recordings of Bromige's work, including many featured in the radio tribute, be sure to visit PennSound's David Bromige author page. You'll find a fairly comprehensive rundown of the readings you'll find there — which span nearly two decades, beginning with a 1978 Segue Series set at the Ear Inn — in our own small tribute to the poet, which appeared on PennSound Daily on June 3rd, the day of his passing. We also draw your attention to the website set up by Bromige's family, where listeners can sample the poet's work, view a gallery of photos from throughout his lifetime, and read memories and tributes from many of his friends and colleagues.

Whenever We Feel Like It: Dara Weir, Ben Kopel, James La Marre

Posted 9/14/2009 (link)

The latest addition to PennSound's roster of reading series is Whenever We Feel Like It, which, we're told, "is put on by Committee of Vigilance members Michelle Taransky and Emily Pettit," who originally organized the series during their time together at the Iowa Writers Workshop. One is benefitted greatly in knowing that "[t]he Committee of Vigilance is a subdivision of Sleepy Lemur Quality Enterprises, which is the production division of The Meeteetzee Institute," as well as the fact that the series moved to Philadelphia last year, along with Taransky (who, during regular business hours, does double-duty for the writing world as assistant to Kelly Writers House director, Jessica Lowenthal).

Recorded September 12, 2009 at the Kelly Writers House, this reading, which features sets by James La Marre, Ben Kopel and Dara Wier, is the fifth event in the series' history. For more information about Whenever We Feel Like It, its readers and future events — which include Andrew Zawacki, Joshua Harmon and Kaegan Sparks next month, and a reading next spring featuring Srikanth Reddy and Danny Khalastchi — you'll want to visit the Whenever We Feel Like It blog. Also be sure to keep an eye on PennSound's Whenever We Feel Like It series page for audio and video from these upcoming dates, as well as a reading by Heather Christle, Natalie Lyalin and Cecilia Corrigan at the Writers House last spring, which will be added in the near future.

Connect with PennSound Through Facebook and Twitter

Posted 9/16/2009 (link)

Frequent visitors to the site might have noticed that we recently added two new links to PennSound's left-hand sidebar: one for our Facebook page and one for our Twitter feed. While a great many listeners are keeping up-to-date with the site through those two venues &mdash in the eleven months since we created our Facebook page 561 fans have added us, while 223 people are following our Twitter feed six months after its launch — we wanted to extend another invitation to those who might not know that these options exist.

You can also quickly and easily get updates on our newest additions is by subscribing to the PennSound Daily newsfeed, which will automatically deliver entries like this one to your iGoogle page, Google Reader or favorite feed aggregator. You can browse through nearly two years' worth of these entries by visiting the PennSound Daily archive, and thanks to the hard work of our summer interns, these short, informative blurbs have now been integrated with the author and event pages mentioned in them (you'll notice them at the very bottom, just above the copyright notice).

Another great service is the Writers House's Dial-a-Poem hotline: just dial 215-746-POEM (7636) to get news on upcoming events at KWH and hear brief recordings from past readings (currently, two selections from the "Live at the Writers House" series: Ron Silliman's "Philadelphia" and Matthew Hart's "A Future Like That Right Dancing"). Finally, we're sad to report that, due to budgetary constraints, our PigeonSound project has been shelved for the time being, but Facebook, Twitter, the PennSound Daily newsfeed and Dial-a-Poem are all wonderful ways to stay in touch with PennSound, and we encourage you to take full advantage of them.

Don't forget that you can connect with many of our partner sites in a similar fashion: the Kelly Writers House, the Electronic Poetry Center and UbuWeb all have Facebook pages, and Ubu is also on Twitter.

PoemTalk 22: from Louis Zukofsky's "Anew"

Posted 9/18/2009 (link)

Today, we're very proud to launch the twenty-second episode in the PoemTalk Podcast Series, which focuses on the untitled twelfth section of Louis Zukofsky's Anew, beginning, "It's hard to see but think of a sea . . ." Joining host Al Filreis for this latest show is a veritable team of Zukofsky all-stars, including Charles Bernstein (editor of the Library of America's Louis Zukofsky: Selected Poems), Bob Perelman (author of The Trouble with Genius: Reading Pound, Joyce, Stein, and Zukovsky) and New Zealander poet and critic, Wystan Curnow.

Filreis begins by asking the panel to consider the poem's sound. Perelman recalls his initial reading of the poem's first line, and the confusion caused by Zukofsky's punning on see/sea, however he admits, "the interplay between all the senses and the trans-sensual waves that he's talking about are all there in a nutshell in that opening line." Bernstein likewise sees this alternation as being a key concept here: "what you hear with your ear is not the same as what you see with your eye, because the hearing of the poem — even when you hear it yourself — it switches, and what happens over the poem is that many of the words switch in their value." Filreis then touches upon the poem's preoccupation with science, which Perelman sees as reminiscent of the poet's "A"-9, which similarly uses a physics textbook's discussion of light (along with Marx's Das Kapital) as a source of language. He then asks Curnow how this scientific discourse serves the poem's purpose: while he's not an expert on electromagnetics, he believes that Zukofsky intends to "propose something to do with meaning that is very implicated in polysemy and metaphorical applications," and therefore this use of language is meant to return what has become a specialized and remote discourse to a more universally apprehensible use. Bernstein points out one more key word that does double duty: "stress," which points towards poetic meter as well as electrical impulses.

The discussion then turns to how these concepts relate to the poem's touching conclusion, in which Zukofsky ruminates on his fortieth birthday. For Bernstein, there's a connection to Einstein (in that "relativity in meaning is context-dependent"), while Perelman hears echoes of Wordsworth (both his dictum that "wherever science goes, the poet will go," and the father contained within the man, tied here to the seed). "So it's the Romanticism of the child put into the context of 20th century science," Filreis summarizes, "because it's not, 'I go back to child,' this is 'I am simultaneously child and me, that produces multiple subjectivities and multiple attentions.'" Bernstein quotes Zukofsky here, "I see many things at one time / the harder the concepts get, / Or nothing," seeing the "[o]r nothing" as a crucial addition.

The panelists next consider the poetic metamorphosis embodied in the title "Anew," and the way in which this work represents a move from the politically-centered work of Zukofsky's early career to a more personal poetics. "This poem is as complex and difficult as Zukofsky ever is, and as absolutely what it is, as something, as an object or another thing in the world, which is refracted like light through a prism," Bernstein affirms, and Perelman cites the poem's discursiveness and anecdotal nature as qualities which mark distinct differences from earlier high points like "A"-8 and -9. Curnow also notes the poem's internal development, from a more restrained and scientific tone in the beginning to warmth at the end, and Perelman concurs, seeing the conclusion as a potential criticism, or a call for continued reflection upon it.

Towards the end of the program, Filreis asks the panelists for their thoughts on why, despite Zukofsky's great influence (upon Objectivism, Modernism and 20th century poetry in general) his work is not as widely known or respected as some his peers, let alone kept in print (save the Bernstein-edited Selected). Bernstein turns the question around somewhat, asking why poetry in general is not better known. Perelman admits that "there's something very uncontainable about Zukofsky, and I think ultimately, you have to identify with the power of poetry to say, 'that's what we like,' as opposed to feeling, 'this is beyond me,' which I think it's very easy for a non-reader of Zukofsky [to feel]." Curnow observes that the poet's work is no more or less obfuscated than that of his peers, and the form of this poem in particular conforms to popular conventions of what poetic form should be, therefore there's no reason he should be singled out for obscurity. Returning to scientific jargon, Bernstein notes that "Zukofsky has an incredible half-life" — his work maintains its vitality and still addresses our present concerns decades after its initial publication. It's heartening to realize that, year-by-year, more readers take notice of him, and hopefully, this program will introduce his work to new audiences.

PoemTalk is a co-production of PennSound, the Kelly Writers House and the Poetry Foundation. If you're interested in more information on the series or want to hear the previous twenty-one episodes, please visit the PoemTalk blog, and don't forget that you can subscribe to the series through the iTunes music store. Our next episode will feature Filreis discussing Cid Corman's "Enuresis" with a Philadelphia-centric panel of Frank Sherlock, Fran Ryan and Thomas Devaney. Stay tuned also for future programs in the series which will address poems by Barbara Guest, Alice Notley and Vachel Lindsay. Thanks, as always, for listening!

The Emergency Reading Series: Dan Featherston and Patrick Pritchett, 2009

Posted 9/21/2009 (link)

Last week, we brought you the new academic year's first offering from the Whenever We Feel Like It Reading Series, and today, we're very proud to offer the year's first event from a perennial favorite of the Philadelphia poetry community (and through PennSound, a wider international audience): the Emergency Reading Series. Started in 2006 as a Kerry Sherin Wright Prize-winning project by Julia Bloch and Scott Glassman, the series "is designed to address several questions we see arising in contemporary North American poetry around issues of emergence and literary community. We've created an ongoing dialogue among working poets on how they think about poetic lineage, theoretical stances, and aesthetic practice."

Joined by co-curator Sarah Dowling, the Emergency Series kicked off its 2009-2010 programming with a September 15th reading at the Kelly Writers House featuring a double-threat pair of poets and scholars: Dan Featherston is the author of The Radiant World, The Clock Maker's Memoir, United States and Into the Earth, and co-founder of Arizona's POG Collective (some of whose readings can be heard on PennSound's POG Sound page). A former story analyst and script editor, Patrick Pritchett has left the film industry for poetry's sake, publishing a number of chapbooks as well as the full-length collection, Burn - Doxology for Joan of Arc.

You can hear lengthy sets by both of these poets, followed by a spirited discussion, on PennSound's Emergency Reading Series homepage, where you'll also find a link to the series blog and nine previous events from Emergency's first three years, including sets by Jena Osman, Thomas Devaney, erica kaufman, Dorothea Lasky, Matthew Rohrer and Sueyeun Juliette Lee, among many others.

Pat Clifford and Aryanil Mukherjee: chaturangik / SQUARES

Posted 9/23/2009 (link)

Earlier this week, Cincinnati poets Pat Clifford and Aryanil Mukherjee sat down to record their recent bilingual collaboration, chaturangik / SQUARES, in its entirety and discuss the poem's origins. The pair alternated segments of the book's four sections &mdash "Knight," "Bishop," "Rook" and "King" — in English, with Mukherjee reading select passages in Bengali.

Inspired by Satyajit Ray's 1977 film, Shatranj Ki Khilari (The Chess Players), chaturangik / SQUARES finds analogues for contemporary global struggles in the structure of the game of chess: the power relationships inherent between its pieces and the limitations each one must face. Moreover, as Mukherjee explains in the accompanying discussion segment, it acknowledges the game's colonial development — the ways in which its ancient Aryan rules were modified by both Muslim and British rulers — and this cross-cultural evolution serves as a fitting model of the book's composition, in which each poet began in his native language, and then worked to transliterate the lines of his co-author. In addition to the four segments and the brief discussion between Clifford and Mukherjee on PennSound's chaturangik / SQUARES page, you'll also find a link to the book's page on Kaurab Online, a repository of Bengali poetry as well as translations of many international poets, where you can learn more about the poem, browse critical responses, and read the final segment, "King."

Mukherjee also recently appeared on the PoemTalk blog, where he shared insights on the most recent program, which focused on Louis Zukofsky's Anew. An engineering mathematician during business hours, the poet ably demystified some of the more arcane scientific references in that poem, specifically, the relationship between the electrical condenser and the sea imagery which begins the poem. You can read that note here, and listen to chaturangik / SQUARES by clicking on the title above.

"Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader" Launch Event at the Bowery Poetry Club

Posted 9/25/2009 (link)

If you couldn't make it out to the Bowery Poetry Club last Saturday for the afternoon reading celebrating the release of Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader, then you're in luck: we've just created a new page with individual recordings of all of the event's participants.

Edited by Maria Damon and Ira Livingston, Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader (University of Illinois Press) brings together classic writings from Wordsworth, Adorno, Benjamin, Deleuze & Guattari and DuBois, among others, along with a selection of new essays written by the likes of Barrett Watten, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Kamau Brathwaite, Charles Bernstein, Audre Lorde, Trinh Minh Na and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, creating a rich and rewarding resource for new students and well-established scholars alike.

Joining the volume's two editors for this event were contributors Bernstein and Amitava Kumar, along with Tracie Morris, Pierre Joris and Renato Rosaldo. You can hear individual tracks from all of these readers by clicking on the title above, which will redirect you to PennSound's Poetry and Cultural Studies event page.

Those in the New York metropolitan area should also take note and keep your Saturday afternoons free: the Poetry and Cultural Studies event serves as a precursor of sorts for the venerable Segue Series, which will be returning from its summer hiatus for a 32nd year of readings. Click here for more information on the full series of eight fall readings, which begin on October 3rd, and if for some reason you can't get down to the Bowery Poetry Club (note: you'd better have a good excuse), fear not — as always, we'll be posting recordings not long after the readings take place.

Kathleen Fraser: Kelly Writers House Reading, September 2009

Posted 9/28/2009 (link)

Last Tuesday, the UPenn fall semester kicked into high gear with the year's first major solo reading at the Kelly Writers House, featuring poet, editor and critic, Kathleen Fraser. The poet was introduced that evening by Michelle Taransky, who lauds the Fraser's poetic space as "an open canvas, gray from memory; the template above a door of hidden resolve; another kind of use value; a forehead on which to scrawl a new language; the recovery of lost grammars of women written over; a slate on which to collage and draw and reconfigure the lessons of the master teacher; a topos of silence and emptiness; a briefest hint or suggested nuances; a record of temporality."

The evening's three selections all come from collaborations with artists, starting with her 2007 Chax Press book, W I T N E S S. Next comes hi ddevioleth i dde violet (dedicated to fellow poet Norma Cole and published in 2003 by Peter Quartermain's Nomados Press) before Fraser concludes with a lengthy reading from the "In the Photo Day" section of Second Language: Constructions in Collaboration (a recent collage work with Joann Ugolini completed at the American Academy in Rome). The forty-minute reading is followed by a nearly half hour-long Question and Answer period, which is presented in its entirety. We've also segmented out a particularly interesting selection from that recording, during which the poet responds to a poet from Charles Bernstein about her response to the misogynistic overtones present in the life and work of Charles Olson.

On PennSound's Kathleen Fraser author page, you'll also discover recordings from the poet's last visit to the Kelly Writers House ten years ago, along with four Segue Series Readings recorded between 1986 and 2008 (two each from the Ear Inn and the Bowery Poetry Club) and a 1982 reading at San Francisco's Intersection for the Arts. These readings are augmented by a 2005 appearance on Cross-Cultural Poetics and a 1997 lecture on Dante, as well as PoemTalk #13, which discusses her poem, "The Cars." Click on the title above to hear all of these recordings, and be sure to visit the Kelly Writers House monthly calendar, where you'll find information on all of the exciting events taking place at UPenn this semester.

George Oppen: Nine New Recordings Added

Posted 9/30/2009 (link)

Thanks to the archival efforts of Richard Swigg, the new editor of our George Oppen author page (and whose invaluable work on our William Carlos Williams page cannot be overstated), we're tremendously proud to announce nine new full-length recordings by the Objectivist master.

We begin with an April 9, 1964 reading for the Academy of American Poets at New York's Guggenheim Museum, which showcases titles including "A Narrative," "The Mast," "This Land," "Her Ankles are Watches" and "Psalm," among many others. Next, we have a February 15, 1966 recording from Long Island University, followed by two readings from February 1967: the first, an updated recording of Oppen's reading at the 92nd Street Y (introduced by Armand Schwerner, and featuring poems from Of Being Numerous) and a February 17th reading at SUNY-Buffalo (the setlist of which includes Of Being Numerous, "A Preface," "Historic Pun," "Epigram," "Ballad," "Power," "The Enchanted World," and "Route").

Moving forward, we have a pair of San Francisco-area readings that were broadcast by KPFA, dating from 1968 and 1972, followed by a pair of 1973 readings (the first at UCSD on March 7th, then a late-May reading from Of Being Numerous, recorded at the Modern American Poetry Conference at the Polytechnic of Central London). Our final new addition is a September 17, 1974 set from Shippensburg University, which includes his late-period classic, "Myth of the Blaze," along with "Five Poems about Poetry," "Confession," "Guest Room" and "The Book of Job and Draft of a Poem to Praise the Paths of the Living."

We're grateful to Dr. Swigg for his thoughtful conservation of these historic recordings, as well as his generosity in sharing them with PennSound's listening audience. Click on the title above to start exploring our much-augmented George Oppen author page, where you'll all of the readings mentioned above, along with many others. Those interested in finding new perspectives on the poet will also want to check out our pages for Oppen Centennial celebrations at the Kelly Writers House and Poets House in April 2008, as well as PoemTalk Podcast #3, which addresses Oppen's "Ballad."